PEOPLE are being asked to stay away from an accident and emergency department over the busy bank holiday weekend unless they have a serious problem.
Health bosses are asking people with minor illnesses and injuries to consider the alternatives available instead of heading straight to A&E at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.
Staff at the hospital are bracing themselves for a busy period as thousands of people visit the city today, tomorrow and Monday.
Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) says people can do their bit to help ease pressure on the hospital.
CCG chairman Xavier Nalletamby said: “A&E is for serious life-threatening injuries and illnesses that need urgent medical attention.
“There are other services in the city for residents and visitors who need advice or treatment for everyday injuries and illnesses.”
A hospital spokesman said a busy weekend was expected but they were confident staff would be able to cope.
Alternatives to A&E include the Brighton Station Health Centre in Queens Road, which is open from 8am to 8pm every day.
GPs and nurses there can deal with a range of problems including sprains, minor burns, cuts and grazes, ear and throat infections, minor skin infections and rashes.
Pharmacists can advise about minor injuries and illnesses as well as recommend over-the-counter remedies.
Weston's pharmacy in Lewes Road and Ashton's pharmacy at Seven Dials are open from 9am to 10pm every day.
Patients can also contact the NHS 111 helpline to get more help.
Trained 111 advisers, supported by experienced nurses and paramedics, can advise about how to get the right treatment from the most appropriate service.
The CCG is running a publicity campaign across the city to make sure people know about all the services available and where to go when they are unwell.
The campaign asks people to be a hero by choosing the right place to go.
More details can be found at www.wecouldbeheroes.nhs.uk.